Sunday, August 16, 2009

Roopkund -Tales from a Distant Land..

Aug 15
Loharjung-->Wan village ------- Wan-Derstruck!!

Slept like a log last night.. Warm sheets..
Loharjung is at a height of 2134 m( close to 8600 feet). Nights can be chilly. A tiny pass in the mountain to the Wan valley , my first encounter with Loharjung was in the dark.. And I only saw one side to her.. Little did I know that this one street pass perched on the mountain would be transformed with activity in the morning

View from our Guesthouse in Loharjung
Morning comes .. Am still lazing in bed sipping on tea when I hear the sound of children singing...
So rush out with my camera.. Remember just in time that its indepencence day..
I see school kids marching through Loharjungs narrow street (the only one there was) to the beat of drums.. Quiet a sight!..Looks like they are walking on clouds :)
Local School Kids being part of the Independence Day Celebrations
Independence Day Celebrations
Ready in record time.. Light Drizzle outside.. Bianca says we will have to trek in the rain..Something I've never done before and I'm wondering how thats going to be.. Defer to her judgment..
Breakfast at the tiny shop..Double Omlettes .. Hot tea, a great accompaniment especially in this part of the world..
Our Bags arrive later. The mules ferry them across.The team leaves...

The stretch from Loharjung to Wan is about 15 kms. A Extremely Pretty walk with Breathtaking landscapes, Green stretches, Carpetted hilltops..
Am a little worried aout taking pictures.. Its raining and I dont want to ruin my lens. We touch Roopkund only next week and I still dont know if my battery will last that long. Bianca has already warned me that the battery sometimes get depleted because of the cold.. Am told its a good idea to keep my camera close maybe inside the sleeping bag at nights.. Forewarned is Forearmed :)

As we climb higher..Views open up.. The stretch is flat for most part though... No steep climbs.. Wan floats into view at around 1:10 Pm.. We stay to take some pics and then walk into the village.

Some Pictures of the Family which invited us for Tea - in Wan
As we take a break I stroll around taking pics. The rain has stopped.. Theres this pretty village home right round the corner and as I aim my camera , a little child calls out to me..She wants her picture taken.. So I oblige.. Soon theres a gathering.. Am invited inside for tea..
They ask me if I'll send them pics.. and very emphatically declare that visiting tourists dont usually send pictures once their treks are done..
They Follow this declaration with an ernest plea to send pictures once again..

Kids in Wan
I take down the address.. Insist that they write a pincode.. Theres some discussion amongst them on what the right pincode to Wan is..
The rest of the crew arrives.. We sit in the courtyard..
View of Wan
Kids in Wan
Typical family.. The Women are back after collecting grass for the cows.. They tell us about their lives there.. The pretty lady making tea tells us she lost her husband four years back in an accidental slip on the hillside..
Shes so young .. Am thinking to myself..
Local Women going about their Daily Chores
A typical Wan Household

We are asked for medicines.. There are no medical facilities anywhere here..
Theres a little girl of about 14 whos running a temperature and her worried mother wants to know what can be done.. Dr has a look and gives them some from our kit..Soon everyone wants to be treated :) .. Aches and Pains, Dreaded Fevers, Rotting teeth..every ailment you can think of.. We tell them we are short of supply and promise we will return if we have anything left from our trip. As we move on am left thinking about the disparities in society. A Doctors presence and mdeicines was something I took for granted. It never occured to me that there were those for whom this was a luxury, maybe a novelty even.

We decide its time to make a move.. Theres still a small stretch we have to cover.
The GMKV guesthouse is further away.. So we climb higher and finally it emerges into view.
Our Luggage hasn't arrived. So we snack on Energy bars and wait..

Once the rest of the team arrives, we have Maggi and hot tea..
Dry our clothes.
Place our chairs outside and talk into the evening.. Tomorrows stretch is going to be a stretch we are told.. An arduous 10-12 km climb to Bedni Bugyal..
Today's Height Gain wasn't much. Wan is at a height of about (2439 m). We don't see much of a temperature difference here..

We crash for the night!..Wanderstruck! :)


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